DeMarcus Cousins, it seems, knew exactly what he was doing.
On Sunday night, amid a weekend of violent protests across the country following the death of Minneapolis man George Floyd, Cousins sent a tweet to veteran Kings play-by-play broadcaster Grant Napear, who has been in that role for 32 years and also hosts a show on KHTK 1140 in Sacramento.
“What’s your take on BLM?” Cousins, who began the season with the Lakers but was injured and eventually released, asked Napear on Twitter, referring to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Napear offered his response: “Hey!!!! How are you? Thought you forgot about me. Haven’t heard from you in years. ALL LIVES MATTER…EVERY SINGLE ONE!!!”
To that, Cousins responded: “Lol as expected.”
That set into motion a series of dominoes that ended with Napear, who spent much of Monday defending his unwillingness to support Black Lives Matter, being put on administrative leave.
In a statement, the team said, “Grant’s recent Twitter comments do not reflect our organization’s views and values. We are reviewing the matter further with our broadcast partners NBC Sports California and Sports 1140 KHTK.”
Since that point, it was revealed by the Kings that Napear had resigned from his role as the team’s announcer.
Napear and DeMarcus Cousins Butted Heads Before
Napear and Cousins have a history dating back to the tumultuous six-plus years Cousins spent in Sacramento from 2010-2017. As the play-by-play man and an employee of the Kings, Napear was always around the team. But as a radio host during the day, he was often critical of players during games.
Cousins, who had a very difficult transition into the NBA, with frequent battles against coaches and teammates, earned a reputation as immature and a hothead. Napear would criticize him for it.
The frustration Cousins felt because of that criticism spilled into public view during a game in 2013 when, after a win in which Cousins scored 17 points with 11 rebounds, he approached the broadcast table and had words with Napear.
Napear never explained exactly what was said but there was, apparently, at least one expletive.
At the time, Napear wrote on Twitter: “For those of you asking ..DMC said hey Grant you’ll have something good to talk about on your show tomorrow! I said thanks for listening.”
He went on to say, “Not going to make a mountain out of a mole hill with Cousins tonight. I wasn’t bothered by it. I’m just glad he listens to my show! I hope … he calls in one day. I’m sure it would be an entertaining conversation!!!”
Former Kings Stars: Napear a ‘Closet Racist’
While a tweet about “All Lives Matter” vs. “Black Lives Matter” might seem to be an underwhelming cause for a suspension and a potential parting of ways with the Kings, the issue between Napear and the team probably had more to do with the subsequent responses from former players.
One, Matt Barnes, was only with the Kings for one full season (2004-05) and a part of the 2016-17 season. He responded to Cousins with a direct condemnation of Napear.
“Would expect nothing less from a closet racists (sic),” Barnes wrote.
Another, franchise icon Chris Webber, stepped in to say that he has told Kings management that Napear had a race problem.
Cousins also tweeted to Napear’s broadcast partner and another Kings great, Doug Christie, to “get a response” from Napear on Black Lives Matter. “Can you help make that happen?”
Christie encouraged Cousins to call into the show and speak with Napear.
Cousins, though, declined, saying: “It’s all love to the fullest big bro but I won’t be calling in to the show. I vowed to never help that show.”
Instead, he got Napear removed, at least temporarily.